Episode 7 of Star Trek Discovery is a great stand-alone episode that brings back Harry Mudd mixed with time loop magic. It’s fun, has emotional character development and works the whole time loop thing from a different perspective. “Magic to make the sanest man go mad” is a good episode to mark the halfway point of Star Trek Discovery Season 1.
In what might be the wackiest episode of the season yet, we see the return of Harry Mudd and some revenge time loop hijinks. It’s definitely in line with wacky episodes from previous Star Trek series, but also tries to show the time loop plotline in a more fast-paced, character-driven way.
The episode starts with Michael Burnham narrating an entry into her personal log. It’s nice to get the personal log/captain’s log narration back. Burnham attends a party on the ship where she meets Cadet Tilly and Security officer Tyler.
She and Tyler are called to the bridge. On the way, they bump into Stamets who is still acting very different due to his spore-integration. On the bridge, the ship has come across an endangered space whale, the Gormagander. Following protocol, they beam the Gormagander onto the ship.
From here we see a masked man step out of the Gormagander, shoot up a bunch of people before getting trapped. He reveals himself as non-other than Harry Mudd, back for revenge as well as to sell the Discovery‘s secrets to the Klingons. Oh and also to kill Lorca a whole bunch of times. Then he blows everyone up.
We are then transported back to when Burnham is heading to the party. A quick montage of repeated lines happen to show the audience quickly we’re experiencing a time loop episode. She goes to the party, she and Tyler are called up to the bridge.
This time on their way to the bridge they are stopped by Stamets who informs them that this has all happened already and that they need to watch out for the Gormagander. Both are confused until they reach the bridge and find the Gormagander waiting.
Long story short the day repeats a whole bunch of times and the only one that realises this is Stamets. Because he’s connected to the Tardigrade’s DNA thingy, he experiences and remembers every time loop.
Get jiggy with it
Unlike most time loop episodes, we don’t follow Stamets or even Harry Mudd who are unaffected by the time loop. Instead, we have fast-paced scenes following the entire crew who experience the time loop independently.
As the plot moves on we also see Stamets working on a way to solve the problem, but we don’t exclusively follow him. Something I like quite a lot. In fact, there are over 50 loops that we don’t see in which time he’s obviously trial and error-ed a lot of things.
Finally, he figures out he needs to get Tyler to tell him more about Harry Mudd so everyone can figure out how Harry is manipulating time. He reveals to Burnham that on a previous attempt Tyler doesn’t trust Stamets.
This is where Burnham comes in, as Stamets reveals that Tyler likes her. You know, likes her. And she likes him. So they need to do a bit of dancing and also figure out how to save the ship and it’s crew.
Enter montage of Burnham and Tyler being cute and awkward, dancing and also sharing their first kiss. Before figuring out that Mudd has a time crystal. Oh and that the time crystal would only work if a 4 dimensional being helped Mudd out (is this a reference to Q, or someone like Q?).
Lorca Death Montage
All the while as our team try to figure out how to break the time loop and stop Harry Mudd, Harry has fun killing everyone a bunch. Especially Captain Lorca. Lorca’s death montage is both dark and comedic.
Rainn Wilson is killing it in his role as Harry Mudd, a beloved character from previous Star Trek. He’s becoming as interesting an antagonist as Q was. Almost. He certainly comes across as quick and smart, but ultimately loses due to his own greed and hubris. As character development goes, he’s not simply a “comedic” character to throw in, but an actual threat to the federation.
That’s why I’m a little uncomfortable with the ending to the episode. Despite killing a federation captain and blowing up the most important ship multiple times, he’s kind of let go with charge. Ok so non of those things technically happened because of time loop stuff… but he’s still guilty of attempted murder right? And he knows a ton about the spore drive now. Oh and he knows about Michael Burnham being on the Discovery.
Surely someone that dangerous should be taken to jail, or at least very heavily monitered. Rather than handed over to an arms dealer who will do anything for his daughter. I think this won’t be the last we see of Harry Mudd on Star Trek Discovery.